There are many reasons why students might not be as interested in the four-year undergraduate experience—maybe you aren’t sure what you want to study yet, your goals don’t require a traditional college path, or you need to save money to attend your dream school. In any case, attending a community college can be a great opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and gather skills and credits that can help you transfer to other programs. Here are the top 10 reasons to attend community college.
1. Less expensive
Traditional four-year college can cost a lot—tens of thousands of dollars for just one year of tuition. Average yearly tuition for community colleges in the US is approximately $5,340 for in-state students, according to the Community College Review. This huge cost difference can be a relief for your (or your parents') wallet. During your time on a community college campus, you could save money then transfer and enroll in a four-year program down the road.
2. Good for testing the waters
“Community college is a brilliant way to ease yourself into higher education. You can learn more about the experience and get a better understanding of whether you’re the right person for higher education,” says Lena Alonso, a marketing professional at Australia2write. “Community college can help you make a decision whether you want to invest money in college or not.”
3. Financial aid and scholarships
Loans and aid aren’t just for four-year colleges. You can get financial aid through the FAFSA for community college as well, as long as you make sure you don’t drop out of your classes and take the minimum amount of credit hours required (check with your school’s financial aid office for specific requirements). And don’t forget about scholarships—many national and institutional awards are available for community college and transfer students, like Phi Theta Kappa scholarships.
4. Healthy school-life balance
Many adult students or people who already have families enroll in community college because they can take only a few classes at a time and have more time for family and other responsibilities. This is a great opportunity for you if you want to make sure that you don’t neglect other aspects of your life.
5. Support for STEM careers
“Many community colleges are really supportive of STEM careers and offer associate degrees in these subjects because they are in high demand,” says George Bennett, a Marketer at Britstudent. “This can help students find better jobs.”
6. A real college experience
You might assume that community colleges don’t offer the same student life experience as traditional colleges do, but this has changed. Many community colleges now offer dorms, networking opportunities, scholarships, and extracurriculars to enhance life on campus.
7. Online classes
You can also take online classes through community colleges if you prefer to learn that way. This is a good option for those who work odd hours or want an opportunity to learn at a pace that suits them best. Online classes are convenient for people who can’t attend regular classes and are a convenient way to earn credits to apply to four-year programs in the future.
8. More personal attention
Community colleges offer smaller classes than traditional four-year schools, which means you’ll get more personalized attention from professors. This is especially helpful if you like to learn at your own pace and don’t want to be just another face in the crowd. Many traditional colleges boast low student-faculty ratios, but their introductory courses may be large, lecture-style classes, which offer almost no personalized attention.
9. Certificates in popular industries
Great career opportunities are usually related to traditional colleges, but community colleges offer valuable certificate opportunities and associate degrees that can help you get amazing jobs too. These include many industries and niches like technology, engineering, and more.
10. Transfer agreements
Community college doesn’t have to be your final educational destination—in fact, many community colleges have agreements with local colleges and universities to help students apply their community college credits to their desired four-year programs. Articulation agreements are a great opportunity for you to get the best out of your education and can make the transfer process more seamless.
Community colleges offer great opportunities for people from many different backgrounds and with different needs. You can learn and have that college experience, take online classes, gather credits to transfer to a traditional four-year college, and save money in the process. Consider these perks when deciding on your future education!
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